I just finished this book on Carl Jung's thoughts on how to live a meaningful life in modern times. It's the most practical book I've read of him. Based on the book I compiled a list of what Jung believes makes modern man sick (both causes and symptoms) and what he believes can heal us.

 

Jung's list of how civilization makes Modern Man sick (causes and symtoms)

  • desire for material possessions
  • urge towards conformity
  • we keep forgetting we are primates
  • atrophy of instinct, age-old forgotten wisdom stored up in us
  • hypermasculine, linear, causal, goal-oriented orientation toward the visible outer world, constant effort to set records
  • condescension toward whatever seems "irrational"
  • overstrained from boundless activity
  • the disease of knowing everything
  • extraverted as hell
  • lack of introspection
  • greed, restlessness, uneasiness, superficiality, nervous exhaustion
  • craving stimulation, impatience, irritability
  • remedies such as diets, exercise, studying inspirational literature
  • can't seem to find a way to live meaningful life
  • ridiculous clothes, meanness, vanity, mendacity, egotism
  • always seeking something
  • too much head, too much will, too much walking about, and nothing rooted
  • exaggerrated self-esteem
  • inferiority complex
  • intellectualism, rationalism without spirit
  • loss of moral and spiritual values
  • despiritualization of nature through objective knowledge of matter
  • we learned to control ourselves, too disciplined, too organized
  • for all his outward success, modern man stays the same inwardly
  • time-saving devices cram our time so full that we have no time for anything
  • loss of soul: people will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls
  • social welfare over spiritual welfare
  • constant noise that protects us from painful reflection, scatters our anxious dreams and the fear of what might come up from one's own depths
  • modern education is too one-sided and only enables a young person to adapt himself outwardly to the world but gives no thought to the necessity of adapting to the self
  • domination of nature and thinking we are not nature
  • convention > ethics

 

Jung's list of solutions to prevent disease/diminish effect

  • turn back too simple things
  • rest
  • realize that things being sought are irrelevant to a happy life
  • listen to and analyze your dreams
  • live in small communities
  • work a shorter day and week
  • have a plot of land to cultivate
  • make spare use of radio, TV, newspaper, technological gadgets
  • mystery, symbols, belief, age-old customs and convictions
  • spirit X intellectualism, rationalism
  • living here and now
  • spiritual welfare over social welfare
  • compensate intellectual work with philosophical interest
  • self-expression and seeing the fruit of your own labour to nourish psyche
  • ask yourself whether by any chance your unconscious might know something to help you
  • look deeply into the eyes of an animal
  • healing contact with Nature from the outside (high mountains, rivers, lakes, trees, flowers, animals) and from the inside (through experiences of the unconscious and dreams)
  • cooperation with nature > domination of nature and thinking we are not nature
  • make contact with the archetypal functions
  •  "Go to bed. Think on your problem. See what you dream. Perhaps the great man, the 2,000,000 year old man, will speak."
  • ethics > convention

 

Just so you know he doesn't aim at becoming a primitive but rather re-building the connection between conscious and unconscious:

 

"Nature is an incomparable guide if you know how to follow her. She is like the needle of the compass pointing to the North, which is most useful when you have a good man-made ship and when you know how to navigate. That's about the position. If you the river, you surely come to the sea finally. But if you take it literally you soon get stuck in an impassable gorge and you complain of being misguided. The unconscious is useless without the human mind. It always seeks its collective purposes and never your individual destiny. Your destiny is the result of the collaboration between the conscious and the unconscious."

 

"Reduction to the natural condition is neither an ideal state nor a panacea. If the natural state were really the ideal, then the primitive would be leading an enviable existence. But that is by no means so for aside from all other sorrows and hardships of human life, the primitive is tormented by superstitions, fears, and compulsions to such a degree that, if he lived in our civilization, he could not be described as other than profoundly neurotic if not mad."